November 2019

Restoring the Traditions and Meanings of Christmas

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 0
Restoring the Traditions and Meanings of Christmas
As hard as it may be to imagine, Christmas celebrations and observances had more meaning in the past in the United States. Even as recent as a decade ago. Before what we call this 'progressive' age. Progressing towards what? At one time, the Christmas season was more about connectedness and not about the materialistic aspect. Which, in turn, makes Christmas feel like a chore to so many. I would be lying if I said that most families try to stay close to traditions. To spend the day away from ordinary distractions and attentive to each other instead. Most of them don't even have traditions anymore (if they ever did).

Yes they, more often than not, hurry to open their gifts. Then they head off to do their own thing and pay each other little mind. They flip on the television or power on their smart devices and sink into those escapes. They act like Christmas is over after those few moments of opening gifts. Then they'll have a so-called special dinner in the evening and that's it. A few moments in the morning and nothing else feels special about the day. Christmas should be more than that.

The trend of materialism has been a problem for a long time in the United States. We all know that it is only getting worse. It is a trend that needs to be undone. It always leaves people feeling like Christmas is a chore rather than a joy. To change that, we do need to go back to our roots or to find a better way to observe the holiday.

For those of us in the USA we need this change the most. We need to celebrate Christmas the way past generations of our respective families did. To celebrate the way the first-generation immigrants of our families would have. Be it that the "first generation" was a few decades ago or over a century or more ago. If your ancestors didn't celebrate Christmas then research Christmas celebrations around the world and mix and match as you please to give Christmas Day a meaning. It doesn't have to be centered around money.  Because, for most of us, past generations of our families came to these shores with little or no money at all.

Most of all, don't let people make you feel like you're not allowed to celebrate or observe Christmas over politically correct/shaming notions either. You're allowed to be happy as the year winds down through New Year's Eve. You're allowed to celebrate the holiday without being shamed for it. In fact, all of December should be a celebration.

Here's the article that inspired this post.

Mixing Polish and American Christmas Traditions in the USA | Traveling Mom

Many immigrant families across America try to preserve traditions brought from their countries of origin. It is easier said than done, especially when children, first generation Americans, are born. They do not want to be different. Parents need to be creative to find a balance between their culture and needs of their children.

Regarding Christmas celebrations and customs around the world, you can check out the entry on Wikipedia at

It's best to go to the sources linked on Wikipedia to get the full, unfiltered picture of respective Christmas traditions around the world. From there you'll be able to dig deeper and find more about the Christmas traditions that you're exploring. Or even find out about traditions that you never even knew about.

The Blizzard of 77 -- One of New York State's Most Destructive Snowstorms

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 0
The Blizzard of 77 -- One of New York State's Most Destructive Snowstorms
Twenty-nine people died in the storm from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 1977 the first snowstorm to warrant a federal disaster area declaration. Total damage reached $300 million. For 11 days, national news reports showed images of a city blanketed in snow up to the roofs of houses.

Blizzard of 77 Buffalo, New York postcard

When the blizzard began, it seemed like just another Friday morning snow flurry. But by 11:35 a.m., lightning flashed and the sky darkened. The wind shifted and began to howl. Soon, people couldn't see across the street.

"My reaction? Wow!" meteorologist Ed Reich said. "It was the most dramatic storm I ever saw." Surprisingly, the snowfall total for the storm was only 12 inches. What made the blizzard unique were the sustained winds, gusting up to 69 mph, which picked up the drifts piled high on frozen Lake Erie and dumped them in western New York and southern Ontario.

The winds were accompanied by Arctic cold temperatures, making it feel like minus 60 degrees outside. Whiteout conditions quickly trapped thousands of people at work, in cars and in homes. Some had to stay put for a day, others for the storm's duration. At least nine motorists froze to death in their stranded cars.

During this time WKBW Radio was the up-to-the minute source of emergency news for all Western New Yorkers. Not only did WKBW report school, office and factory closings but it was a major contributor of reports that cities, towns and even entire counties were closed and impassable due to blowing and drifting snow! The following audio clips were recorded during this event.

While listening to these recordings of the actual broadcasts, you may detect some anxiety in the announcer's voice!

Blizzard of 77 stop sign buried in snow


Unfortunately, the audio on that mirrored link cannot be played because the streaming audio files were never mirrored there.

But you can listen to them in this video by PhilaVideo on YouTube. It is well worth the listen.

Here's a TV Broadcast during the Blizzard of '77 from WBEN Channel 4:

A slideshow video from the mirrored website above:

Snow Depth Map of the Blizzard of 77 (skip to 1:22:24, pause, and fullscreen if needed):

A Magical Sound Made By The Earth - Singing Ice

Monday, November 11, 2019 0
A Magical Sound Made By The Earth - Singing Ice
Singing ice is somewhat common and occurs with ice on frozen ponds and lakes. It is otherwise known as acoustic dispersion and occurs in a few ways. Which includes skipping rocks across the surface of the ice, from taking a chance ice skating on ice that's still thin, and (as in this video) from the movement of the ice and the water beneath the ice. When you get to experience it, in person, it is an amazing sound. It is like a spiritual sound and a musical instrument of nature trying to speak with its own voice. Almost unearthly at times.

When I was young, we used to have a depression in our yard that would fill with water from autumn rains. When it would get cold enough to freeze I would skip rocks across the surface of the ice to hear the unique sound of the 'singing' ice. It was nothing as remarkable as what's heard in this video though. If you ever have the chance, I definitely recommend going out to an undisturbed, newly frozen pond and experiencing it for yourself by skipping rocks off the surface. It is an experience that is worth traveling or hiking to a pond or lake, in late fall or winter, to hear the sounds firsthand.

Katelyn Nicole Davis ? Forever Missed